Home Owners Associations
Home Owner Associations Set Community Standards
Millions of Americans reside in communities that are managed by Homeowners’ Associations. An HOA may be governed by homeowners that have come together for the mutual benefit of their neighborhoods, or by ruling boards which were put in place by the home builder, and continue to manage the community. The purpose of an HOA is to ensure that a subdivision adheres to a particular set of standards. This type of conformity helps to prevent declining property values and establishes an agreeable residential environment. The values of the community are called the “Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions”, or CC&Rs, and homeowners in the neighborhood are legally obligated to understand and abide by these rules. Residents pay dues at regular intervals in order to support the HOA and these fees also cover the maintenance of common-use facilities such as swimming pools and spas.
Smart Property Buyers Make Time to Review the Rules
Living in a neighborhood with an HOA is usually positive. Noisy neighbors become annoyances of the past, and common standards are respected, which creates fertile grounds to protect home values. In spite of these advantages, there can be some unwelcome surprises written into a neighborhood’s CC&Rs.
Homebuyers need to be aware of:
- Pet restrictions. An HOA may limit the breed, size and number of pets allowed.
- Rentals. Some HOAs do not allow homeowners to rent out their properties; others place a time frame on home leasing.
- Long-term guests. Not every HOA permits them; some restrict the number of cars that can be seen on or near the property from the street.
- Landscaping. This is one of the biggest areas of misunderstanding; read this section carefully.
It is an excellent decision for property buyers to gain a thorough understanding of a neighborhood’s HOA standards. Check with one of our licensed realtors for other issues and concerns that you may have.
Financial Fitness is not just for Homeowners
Last but not least, an HOA has a financial history as well as future plans. Homebuyers who check this out may find that the community is in the middle of an expensive assessment, costly lawsuit, or is about to determine the necessity of remodeling the clubhouse and fitness center. Factoring this information in can often make or break a decision to purchase a property. On the other hand, negative information gives some buyers leverage when negotiating the price of the home. Speak with one of our experienced realtors if you have specific questions about this topic or anything else that’s related to home ownership and HOAs.
In conclusion, most homeowners find that the advantages of living in a community governed by an HOA outweigh the detriments. Never the less, it is wise to be completely familiar with the details of an HOA agreement before committing to abide by it. Finally, adding up the costs of becoming a homeowner includes factoring in monthly HOA dues, existing or potential lawsuits, and plans for any costly, albeit necessary, community improvements.